The Conference Semifinals are underway in both the Eastern and Western Conferences. And in both games played Monday night, the road team was able to get a win on their opponent’s home court. Here is a look at how it went down in Indiana and Oklahoma City.
Wizards 102 – Pacers 96
The Washington Wizards proved two things with their 102 – 96 win over the Pacers. First, having a few extra days off for their team to rest was huge against a Pacers team that played just two nights ago. And second, with their first second-round win in over 30 years, the Wizards are ready to roll in 2014. Bradley Beal, who was big in games against Chicago in the quarterfinal round, once again led the Wizards. He had 25 points on the evening, including 14 in the final quarter. Every Wizards starter scored in double digits and also had a positive point differential when on the court. Nene was the big man with a huge game in Game One against the Bulls, and Marcin Gortat was the x-factor on Monday. Along with 12 points, he had 15 huge rebounds, including 6 on the offensive glass. Gortat matched up against Indiana’s Roy Hibbert, who once again slumped back into the unknown to continue his struggles. In 18 minutes, Hibbert had no points or rebounds and was a team-low, -17, when on the court. Paul George and George Hill led the Pacers, both having 18 points, but many of those were scored in the final quarter when Indiana was jacking up threes to try and get back into the game. The Pacers got two huge wins in Game Six and Game Seven against the Hawks. However, the last thing they wanted was to lose home-court advantage for the second straight series. Unfortunately for them, that’s exactly what happened and they are now down to the fifth seeded Wizards. The Pacers will look to even things up on Wednesday night. The way things are right now; the Wizards have the lowest odds to win the NBA Championship at 35/1. However, with the way they’ve been playing lately, they look to deserve a bit more respect. As for the Pacers, they are sitting in the middle of the pack with 13/1 odds.
Clippers 122 – Thunder 105
Much like the Pacers, the Clippers and Thunder also were pushed to seven games in the quarterfinals. However, the Clippers looked like they had weeks of time to prepare for Oklahoma City, as they routed the Thunder, 122 – 105. And despite Oklahoma City outscoring Los Angeles in the final quarter, 27-18, the final score was hardly as close as 17. The Clipper outscored the Thunder in every quarter except the last, including 39-25 in the first, 30-17 in the second, and 35-26 in the third. Chris Paul had a monster game and led the way for Los Angeles, scoring 32 points and dishing out 10 assists. Paul was red hot and shot 12-14 from the field, including 8-9 from 3-point range. The loss was the worst that the Thunder have suffered on their home-court since moving to Oklahoma City. In the loss, Russell Westbrook led the way with 29 points, while Kevin Durant had 25. The Thunder did outrebound the Clippers, 47-31. However, with the Clippers shooting 54.9% to the Thunders 45.9%, it didn’t matter considering how easily Los Angeles was scoring. Game Two will also be on Wednesday, as Oklahoma City will look to salvage at least one win on their home court before heading to Los Angeles for Game Three on Friday. You can check back with sportspicks.com handicappers for these scores, as well as the rest of the playoff action this week. The Clippers and Thunder are neck-and-neck when it comes to odds to win the NBA Championship. The Thunder, at 22/5, slightly edge the Clippers, who are at 15/2.